LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (June 6, 2001) - The Fittipaldi name is synonymous with racing, and successful racing for that matter. Currently, Christian Fittipaldi is carrying on the Fittipaldi name in the CART FedEx Championship series in a car prepared by...
LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (June 6, 2001) - The Fittipaldi name is synonymous with racing, and successful racing for that matter. Currently, Christian Fittipaldi is carrying on the Fittipaldi name in the CART FedEx Championship series in a car prepared by Newman/Haas Racing and has been asked to serve as a presenter at the induction of his Uncle, Emerson Fittipaldi, into the Motorsports Hall of Fame tonight at the State Theatre in Detroit, Mich.
"It's a honor to be asked to present my uncle with this award," said Christian Fittipaldi. "I think that myself, like any other Brazilian driver, owes a lot to my father and my uncle because they were the pioneers who first put Brazil on the international map in terms of racing. I am proud of Emerson's accomplishments not only as his nephew but also as a racing driver in general. He has established himself as one of the great legends in the sport of auto racing."
The Fittipaldi name was first made famous by Wilson, Sr., Christian's grandfather, who was a celebrated sports broadcaster in Brazil beginning in the 1950s when radio was the most popular medium for sports coverage as TV coverage was not yet aired live. Wilson Sr's coverage of the most popular sports - racing and soccer - led to Wilson, Jr., Christian's father, and Emerson's involvement with racing.
Among Emerson's accomplishments in the area of open-wheel racing include his Formula One title in 1972 after winning five races and three poles en route to becoming the youngest World Champion at the age of 25. After a runner-up finish in the World Championship in 1973, Emerson again won the World Championship in 1974. After a brief stint as a Formula One team owner with his brother Wilson, Emerson retired from Formula One competition after the 1982 season.
In 1984, Emerson came to CART and proceeded to amass 22 wins, 17 poles, 2,624 laps led and more than $14.2 million in earnings before his final race in CART at Michigan in 1996. His highlights include winning the 1989 CART Championship, as well as winning the Indianapolis 500 two times - 1989 and 1993.
Like his uncle, Christian Fittipaldi raced in Formula One prior to coming to the CART FedEx Championship series. Christian went to Formula One in 1992 as a 21-year-old after winning the Formula 3000 championship. In his three years in the series he scored three fourth place finishes with the Minardi (one) and Arrows (two) teams before setting his sites on CART beginning with the 1995 season. To date, he has scored two CART victories - the Texaco/Havoline 200 at Road America in 1999 and the Marlboro 500 at the California Speedway in 2000 - and one pole in the Rio 200 in his homeland of Brazil.
Fittipaldi will make three trips to Motor City before the running of Round 6 of 21 in the CART FedEx Championship Series, the Tenneco Automotive Detroit Grand Prix on June 17. After returning home to Florida from the Motorsports Hall of Fame ceremony, Christian will return to Michigan to be a guest of his sponsor, Kmart, at this weekend's Kmart 400 Winston Cup race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). After spending Monday, June 11 training in (hopefully) sunny Key Biscayne, Fla., Fittipaldi will return to MIS to take part in a CART "performance containment" test on behalf of Toyota on Tuesday, June 12 before checking in for active duty on Thursday afternoon on Belle Isle for the CART race where he hopes to improve on his previous best finish of second place in the Tenneco Automotive Detroit Grand Prix in 1996.